UdeC student assumes a key role in the development of an analog space mission

UdeC student assumes a key role in the development of an analog space mission

Nicholas Sepulveda He is only 23 years old and is in the last stage of Aerospace Civil Engineering at the University of Concepción (UdeC), but his young career is also a successful trajectory to which he adds the milestone of being head of the Scientific Team of the Asclepios II mission, “a huge, but rewarding challenge”assures the young man from San Pedro de la Paz with the natural joy and pride of experiencing when the ideals that have inspired him from early in life become reality: “Being part of this mission allows me to fulfill a dream that I have had since school, which is to enter the space sector. My dream is to be a researcher and dedicate myself to space projects, get involved in technological development and contribute to it”.

Lead from Chile

Asclepios II is an international project of analog space missions directed by students for students and the university student UdeC says that “seeks to simulate short-duration space missions on another celestial body such as the Moon or Mars, thus paving the way for future space exploration of the Solar System”. Its young managers come from different countries, mainly from America and Europe, and spend long months designing, developing and carrying out experiments on Earth that can be replicated in space, work for which they are under the guidance of trained professionals.

It is the same mission for which her running mate Tatiana Lopez was selected as the first Chilean analog astronaut, belonging to the group that will execute the developed tests that were chosen and that Nicolás Sepúlveda has been in charge of managing from their reception to their execution and monitoring, from his role of directing the team made up of dozens of students together with prominent researchers and institutions supporting the design of experiments.

Something soon to happen, when in a few days the mission materializes its final stage, after more than a year of work and preparation, with its implementation in Switzerland in a site located in the heart of the Alps and where the experiments will be carried out in a base that will simulate a lunar habitat Isolated from the world, advances Sepúlveda, who will address the European nation on July 6 to consolidate his role. “The analog astronauts will be monitored 24 hours a day by us to assist remotely.”, tells about a control experience whose complexity and scope is similar to that seen in popular movies about space travel, but in which the young man will star in reality and not as a star of fiction.

Learn by doing and failing

Today Nicolás Sepúlveda is head of the Asclepios II scientific team, but he is not new to the project, since he joined in 2020 to work on the development of the first mission carried out in July 2021. A successful experience that had a great impact on him and he recognizes that this prompted him to take a more leading and challenging role, applying for the position he now holds.

Asclepios was not the first time that he was involved in an event of this type, although the scope of the mission is not equaled. His vocation and scientific interest explored and consecrated him as a schoolboy and during high school he participated in the international scientific camp National Youth Science Camp, made in the United States.

As a university student, within the UdeC he has been involved in several engineering projects related to aerospace. “The most beautiful thing about those experiences in the first years of the university was learning by doing and learning by failing. Many things are learned by trying and from experience”manifests.

In addition, he did his professional internship at the University of Chile, where he worked with the Suchai 2 and 3 satellites and with PlantSat in the months prior to their launch, and maintains that “I learned firsthand the complexity and beauty of developing space projects, with unimaginable potential in scientific and technological development and, in the long run, inspiring future people who want to participate in the aerospace area.”.

It is that he knows that in projects in this field there are many disciplines and knowledge that are needed and combined to develop successfully, and also that entering early is key to facing this complexity and facilitating the path, gaining training, scientific and work experience that translates into in great advantage to project.

An experience that motivates schoolchildren and university students to seek and explore possibilities linked to areas of interest. “You have to dare to seek dreams and opportunities. If they feel that they do not have a definite dream, they should explore as much as possible on any topic that catches their attention, be it scientific or not. Being part of these instances is a huge step to develop”close.

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Written by Editor TLN

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